Fit For a Faerie

Thanks in large part to the dedicated effort of artist Berton Ridley, the life of artist Adrienne A. McDonald was celebrated this past weekend in a most moving ceremony by family, friends, fellow artists and arts supporters, fittingly, at the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts in Brooklyn. Though Adrienne had been beautifully memorialized in her Washington, DC hometown, she had spent many years of her creative life in New York and had touched so many that her NY friends felt strongly that she should be celebrated here as well. Berton presided over the gathering and in beautiful tribute, shared his reminiscences and encouraged others to do the same.

Sherri Hobson-Greene and her teenage daughter Loni spoke poignantly of Adrienne’s impact on their lives, as she had once lived with them and had come back for a little “visitation.” Recently, upon returning to the home they once shared with Adrienne, they felt her presence. When they walked in Loni said, “It smells like Adrienne.” Adrienne had always surrounded herself with beauty and magic and the sweet smells of incense burning.

Adrienne’s incredibly poised and wonderfully candid parents, Virgil and Kelley McDonald shared humorous stories of their daughter. Ms. McDonald told a wonderful story of how she became fully immersed in her daughter’s creative life, when she and her daughter-in-law were enlisted to help Adrienne prepare for a doll show in Philadelphia. She laughed (as did the assembly of those who “know how Adrienne is”) as she told of Adrienne’s exacting standards. Baptism by fire, hook or crook, they together completed 100 dolls in time for the Philly show. Every doll sold. Ms. McDonald closed her remarks by admonishing those of us who have collected Adrienne’s dolls, “You take care of them, those are my Grandbabies.”

Yes, Ms. McDonald, we will treasure, cherish and keep them safe.

Adrienne beams at a fashion and doll show she held in the home of Kim and Ira James in the early 1990’s.

Mama Kim James models Adrienne’s exquisitely hand-dyed dress and makes sure everyone is well-fed; daughter Yhanni enjoys her faerie moment.

Photos courtesy of Adrienne’s former roommate, artist Franchell Mack Brown.

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7 Responses

  1. Peace & Blessings to all of us who were touched by her creativity, beauty, and spirit

  2. Every so often Adrienne will come and sit beside me (On the couch, the side of my bed, etc.). I hear her clear as a bell. Her favorite starter question was always “Hey lil cousin, what’s new in your world?” I come from a VERY imposing family where education and marriage was “key”. Adrienne NEVER made me feel like she was prying. I digress… When Adrienne comes to visit me, I go digging. I pull out photos, I go online just looking. I want to see if everyone still misses her, like I do. I find small tidbits and Blogs about her and it soothes my soul. I want to thank her extended family for that. Sometime I NEED to feel what others are feeling in sync with me. Thank you.

  3. I have an extensive and beautiful collection of Adrienne’s dolls and two jumpropes with doll handles I bought nearly 15 years ago for my then little nieces.
    I am torn up to learn of her passing!
    Her creative energy and loveliness will live on.
    God Bless!

    • Thanks for commenting.

  4. I called to tell Adrienne, my soul sister, of my pregnancy with my first and only daughter in October 2007. When I called her mother Virginia to send word of my daughter’s arrival in May 2008, I discovered Adrienne was gone…My 3-year-old daughter now plays with the four dolls Adrienne lovingly gave me over the 10 years we became sisters. We had spent endless nights talking art, family, music, ethereal magic and the eternal possibilities and sadness of love. She called me the day after her stroke, her words indecipherable… I weep as I write this… How painful to hear from her mother that Adrienne had left us in body, but remains in spirit and soul. I then knew of the depths of a mother’s worst fear. I know she is always with us because my daughter named her rag doll after Adrienne and she carries a rag doll I made for her in Adrienne;s honor for her second birthday. WE LOVE YOU ADRIENNE ALWAYS AND ENDLESS BLESSINGS AND LOVE TO YOUR BEAUTIFUL FAMILY!!!!!
    Todo Amor Siempre!!!!!
    Deanna and Fela

    • Thanks so much for your beautiful comment!

  5. MUST SAY IT WAS BACK IN BROOKLYN WHEN I WAS A STUDENT AT PRATT THAT ADRIENNE SHOWED UP AS MENTOR AND ETERNAL INSPIRATION IN MY LIFE IN 1991–MANY MORE THAN TEN YEARS AGO.– SEWING RAG DOLLS UNDER HER LOVING WING…ADRIENNE’S LOVE LIVES ON IN OUR MEMORIES AND OUR CREATIONS…
    TODO AMOR, DEANNA

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